2013 Walter Hansel "North Slope" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1260282 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Fashioned from yields of 2 to 2.5 tons of fruit per acre, the 2013 Chardonnay North Slope sees 30% new and 70% used barrels. It has nowhere near the generosity of its 2012 counterpart, but it exhibits beautiful nectarine, tangerine and other assorted tropical fruit notes, crisp, zesty acidity and a hint of wet stones that provide unmistakable minerality. Drink now-2018. The consistently run Walter Hansel winery (now in the capable hands of Steve Hansel) has over 40 acres of Chardonnay and 40 acres of Pinot Noir, all family-owned. Visitors to the Sonoma Valley, especially the Santa Rosa area, will also enjoy a stop at the Walter Hansel Wine Bar and Bistro on Guernville Road, an excellent venue with a terrific wine list as well as delicious, French-inspired bistro cuisine. The 2012 and 2013 Walter Hansel wines are very successful...The 2013 growing season was ideal, with plenty of warmth, but no heat spikes, which can cause raisining and vineyard stress. The fact that 2013 produced a more European style of wine, especially aromatically, flavor-wise and structurally is largely confirmed over and over again by the high-quality producers in both Napa and Sonoma. (RP)  (12/2014)

90 points Vinous

 Hansel's 2013 Chardonnay The North Slope Vineyard has come together nicely over the last year. Honey, orange peel, spice and butter are all pushed forward in an attractive Chardonnay that has a lot to offer. Drink this open knit, super-classic Russian River Chardonnay over the next handful of years. The slight hint of reduction that was once present is still there, and it slightly masks the fruit, but otherwise, the North Slope is quite attractive. It is so refreshing to taste with proprietor Stephen Hansel. At a time when so many of the world's best wines are increasingly unaffordable for the normal consumer, Hansel has kept his prices decidedly reasonable. As I have written before, Hansel's wines epitomize what the Russian River does so well; namely rich, butter Chardonnays and forward, juicy Pinots...During my January trip I also enjoyed a delicious meal at the Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro, a California version of a classic French bistro. The food was delicious, but more than the cooking I was struck by an old-fashioned sense of warmth and hospitality that I have not seen in a restaurant in a very long time. Everything about Walter Hansel Winery speaks to class. (AG)  (2/2016)

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Price: $34.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.